Questions from My Mom about Life on a Boat

in Life at Sea / Sailing the World
30 Comments
questions from my mom about life on a boat

My Facebook Page can be confusing, I know. One minute I’m showing pictures of me lounging in a hammock on a Caribbean beach and, a few hours later, I’m posting an update of me eating sushi in New York City with friends I made during the Clipper Round the World Race…for example.

Even I find it hard to keep track of where I am on my blog, on my Facebook page and on my videos, let alone where I am in real life. Which is why I should be sympathetic when I call my mother and she asks questions like, “Where have you been for the last month?”

“Crossing the Atlantic, Ma.”

“Oh, so where are you now?”

“The Caribbean.”

“Oh, so you’re back in the U.S., that’s wonderful!”

“No, not exactly…”

I am nowhere near the U.S. right now, but I have been back to New York to see my mom three times since I arrived to the Caribbean. And each time, she has told me how grateful she is for my YouTube videos because now she can see for herself what I do with my days now that I no longer have a job.

(I don’t have the heart to tell my mother I don’t make the videos for her alone – though I’m grateful they help her understand my crazy life a little more.)

questions from my mom about life on a boat turf to surf

This is what my mother feeds me — I should really visit more often.

The truth is my mother doesn’t care why I create videos for YouTube; she’s just excited she can watch them and show me all the adventures I’ve been having every time I visit her. Yes, you read that correctly – my mom loves to play my videos on her television for me so I can watch the things I’ve done…and made videos of.

It’s kind of cute, actually – it’s like she uses YouTube as a way of connecting with me and showing me all the amazing stuff she loves about the internet…which is basically cats and watching me sail around the world. It would be like J.K. Rowling’s mother insisting on reading aloud all her favorite Harry Potter passages every time she met up with J.K for brunch. Not that I am comparing myself to J.K. Rowling – but you get the idea. It’s weird and adorable.

I should mention here that my mother is Korean and English isn’t her first language so, at times, reading all the words I post here on my blog can be tedious for her.

“Thank God for YouTube!” my mother says when she watches Chase the Story. “It makes me feel like I’m right next to you!”

It’s cute how she has taken on the mission of watching and sharing everything I create on YouTube. That is, until I, personally, am sitting in my mother’s living room, working away on editing a video, and I look up to see my mom is broadcasting a video I made on her Chrome Cast.

“Have you seen this one? With the dolphins?!” She exclaims.

“Yes, mom. I have seen it. I was there. I made it.”

This is adorable of course, but the reality is that my mom is seeing an opportunity to showcase my work to me AND interrupt me every 30 seconds to ask me what is happening on the screen at any given time. It’s both endearing and irritating.

And since I don’t have the wherewithal to video record my mother watching my own YouTube videos while asking me questions about what is happening in my videos, I thought I would share some of the gems my mother is throwing at me while I’m trying to do work in her living room.

  • You don’t actually use those things, do you? (Referring to the sails)
  • You can’t steer when you’re sailing, can you?
  • What kind of fish is that? Mahi Mahi? How do you spell that? (Looks up in Korean dictionary) Do you have another name? It’s not in my dictionary.
  • Can you eat that fish?
  • WOW, YOU MADE THAT DINNER?! (Referring to footage of us eating in a restaurant. I had to point out that we were not on the boat.)
  • What is that you’re pulling on, does that help you sail? (Referring to footage of me reeling in a fish — I had to point out that this particular activity has nothing to do with sailing).
  • How did you get that picture of the dolphins under water?
  • SHE’S GOING TO THE TOP OF THE BOAT ON A ROPE? THAT’S CRAZY!
  • Why is Ryan afraid of horses?
  • How do you know these people on your boat?
  • Who is that girl?
  • Why does that guy talk funny? (Referring to our French crew’s accent).
  • Did the bird eat anything?
  • That doesn’t look hard. Is he stupid? (Referring to a crew member’s efforts to learn to tie a knot.)
  • Can you sail at night?

In light of the fact that I can get nothing done with my mother in the room, I have started to think about the concept of AMA (Ask Me Anything) and wondered if any of you out there might also have questions about my life at sea – what it entails, how we eat, where we go to the bathroom (a common question from children under five) and the complications we experience.

So let this be an opportunity for my mother to open up the table to questions from anyone about how we live our lives at sea and what it is we do with all our time as we sail around the world.

I will be on the move (as usual) for the next few days, but I’d love to read and answer your questions – post your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer!

And, mom, try to not to overload the comments section here…I know it’s hard. So many questions 😉

Love,

Tasha

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30 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Matt May 18, 2016, 3:41 pm

    Hah, I think the “Why is Ryan afraid of horses?” Was the best part….I’m still laughing. 🙂
    Matt recently posted…A Storm, a Sailboat, and a SUP…My Profile

  • David Seely May 18, 2016, 5:14 pm

    We love following your adventure. Thanks for sharing your time with your mom.

  • Cheryl Geeting May 18, 2016, 6:21 pm

    Ha! Your mom sounds like a blast. Love her questions. Don’t really have any questions of my own other than .. did you sell your Catalina? I know you had someone interested, but you’re hard to keep up with .. LOL! Just curious, as we’re still working on ours and I often think how we could be sailing on yours right now if only …

    So glad all is well and looking forward to reading about your trip through the Canal!
    Cheryl Geeting recently posted…Sailor In Progress!My Profile

  • Doug VanderSys May 18, 2016, 9:34 pm

    “Yes, mom. I have seen it. I was there. I made it.” – I laughed out loud (scaring the dog) Thank you! – Doug

  • Jennifer - s/v Luna Sea May 18, 2016, 9:59 pm

    I love this post. It’s great to see that moms and their questions about this life are universal. Looking forward to seeing everyone else’s questions, too!
    Jennifer – s/v Luna Sea recently posted…Living aboard – Hello Spring! And a lesson on Boat Corrosion.My Profile

  • Petra May 19, 2016, 1:27 am

    Haha…good read Tasha. Your mom sounds adorable. 🙂

  • Lynn May 19, 2016, 1:33 pm

    Really enjoy the blog. Question i came up with is has your mom ever gone with you or considering going with? I bet she’d make great crew!

    Lynn

    • Tasha May 19, 2016, 9:46 pm

      My mom came out on our old boat once for a day with my dad and her two sisters. One of her sisters spent the entire day throwing up into a bucket — I felt so bad for her. Luckily that wasn’t my mom’s experience and I do think she would be open to coming out for longer but she runs her own business and it’s hard for her to get away. She says she’s working on it!

  • Sea&Stars May 19, 2016, 2:30 pm

    It seems like you guys zipped right through the Caribbean, what goes into the decision to stay or go? Are you going to try for more off the beaten path places? You made some interesting points on over provisioning in one of your blogs, are you able to delve into local foods? I hear that multihulls tend to rely on motors more than monohulls, what has your experience been with respect to the % of motoring vs sailing?

    • Tasha May 19, 2016, 10:02 pm

      Whew, good questions! I’ll go through them one-by-one:

      – I think the urge to stay or go is different for everyone — for us the urge to go comes more often than it does for others, it seems. We had a plan to stay in the Caribbean exploring slowly for a year. But then we got bored…and a little jealous watching all the boats we know making their way towards the Pacific, and as Ryan has said, “We can sail the Caribbean at any time of our lives. But we’re not going to be crossing the Pacific at any time of our lives. I say we go now and worry about the Caribbean later.” As for more off the beaten path places, I think we’re hoping we can sit for a year exploring the South Pacific islands…but then again, you never know when boredom will kick in and we’ll be off sailing again. But from what I’ve seen, the South Pacific has a lot to offer off the beaten path…I’m excited for something new!

      – For provisioning, one of my favorite things is finding the thing I absolutely LOVE that’s local to each country and stocking up on it so it will last me until I find the next thing I LOVE in the next country. In Spain, it was chorizo and jamon iberico — it stores for months out of the fridge so that stuff pretty much got us across the Atlantic! In France, I love how they have a million sauces and things in small cardboard boxes, not cans. I stocked up on cardboard boxes of coconut milk, hollandaise sauce, mushroom sauce, etc. Not to mention tinned pates and canned duck — these are great for long term food storage and they’re delicious! In South America, we’ve been buying up tons of cheap Mexican food items — canned jalapeno peppers, canned salsa, sachets of refried beans. All those items cost about $1 a piece and they’re great for ocean crossings!

      – I know catamaran owners tend to motor more than sail and, to be honest, when we were in the USVIs and BVIs, if we were just doing a two-hour trip from one place to another, we’d most likely motor. But for day-sailing and, of course, long-term sailing, we sail our catamaran just as much as we used to sail our little monohull. For one, the Helia sails GREAT. In 20-25 knot winds off the beam or aft, we easily do 7-8 knots. With our Parasailor (spinnaker) going downwind in 20-25 knots, we easily do 11-13 knots. We hit a high of 17.8 knots surfing waves downwind with our spinnaker when we crossed the Atlantic. Sailing our catamaran is always much more exhilarating than motoring! So for % sailing vs. motoring on overnight passages or longer is 80-90% sailing. The 10-20% motoring comes in when there’s no wind or the wind is on the nose and we’re in a hurry to get somewhere in a straight line — no different from the percentage and how we sailed Hideaway, our monohull.

      Thanks for all the questions — I hope that answers them. Feel free to fire away if that brings up any more questions!

  • Rob Bucklin May 19, 2016, 5:52 pm

    Great idea Tasha. When you are sailing a fair distance, what is it like doing the night shift at the helm? Do you get to sleep during the day, or are your crew just way too loud? lol.

    Rob in Raleigh

    • Tasha May 19, 2016, 10:10 pm

      Good question. I LOVE doing night watches! But that’s because I’m a night owl and I feel like my brain only really wakes up after 11 pm. So if I’m at the helm on night watch, I can use that time to get things done — writing, video editing, photo editing, etc. It’s great creative time for me because the boat is quiet, there are no distractions and I just have to keep an eye on the charts and the wind every so often. I think we only ever saw three boats the entire time we were crossing the Atlantic.

      When it’s just Ryan and I on the boat for long passages, it can start to feel like I’m single-handed sailing, but with more sleep. When I go off watch, Ryan comes on and we’re almost never on deck at the same time unless it’s for sail changes. I also have no problems sleeping anywhere on cue. There could be a disco going on in the cockpit and if I wanted a nap, I could fall asleep right in the middle of it, no problem. So sleeping during the day is never a problem for me. I tend to be more alive during the night.

      When it’s 6 crew like we had for the Atlantic and like we have on board now, the watches are really short and not taxing at all. In the beginning of any passage, we usually split it up so that two people are on watch at a time for four hours twice a day — once during daylight and once during the night. As the crew get more comfortable and the skipper feels more confident in the crew, we sometimes move to one person on watch at a time for two hours twice a day. It means everyone has ample time to sleep and do the things they want to do with their day. And we rotate cooking and cleaning duties according to a rota.

      Thanks for those questions, Rob! If you’re wondering anything else, feel free to fire away!

  • Muir Paterson May 19, 2016, 8:10 pm

    Have you ever tried to have your Mom come and stay with you for a few days on your boat? I know that my Family never understood why I did the things that I did ( nor did they know many of the things that I did ). After 40 years they have met many of my cohorts in my adventures and they have caught on to a few escapades. Mahi Mahi are known as dolphin fish in Korea, I’m not sure if this translation is correct 만새기. My Korean is very limited. I hope the phrase below is fitting, I had an old business connection in Korea translate for me.
    에서 늘 성공하시길 바랍니다.

    • Tasha May 19, 2016, 10:13 pm

      Ahh, yes, they call it dolphin fish in Spain as well. I’ll check with my mom to see if she knows the word — well done on speaking Korean! That is more than I can say for myself! I would love to have my mom come and stay with us on the boat — Ryan’s parents have stayed on the boat with us, but not my mother. I’m working on her! Tell her how awesome it would be — maybe she just doesn’t believe me!

      • Jacques Ferreira June 3, 2016, 3:31 pm

        Hi Tasha, I am from South Africa and down here we call them Dorado. Very nice fish to catch and eat.

        • Tasha June 5, 2016, 4:42 pm

          It’s a lovely fish to eat! And it makes for good sushi!

  • David Korr May 20, 2016, 2:32 pm

    I am really enjoying your adventures through your videos and blogs. When I came across Chase The Story, the Christmas New Year episode, I binge watched every episode from one.

    My questions are of the financial and medical variety. If you are maintaining ties to home, do you have someone handling things like mail, bill paying, and, if required, any pharmacy refills? I realize that moving finances from one account to another can be done anywhere in the world, so I imagine life abroad is mostly managed by credit card. What bank has proven the best for worldwide banking support?

    Thank you for your time and safe travels.

    David

    • Tasha May 21, 2016, 2:54 am

      That’s a really good question, David. We use a service called Traveling Mailbox that gives us a mailing address for all our stuff like important notices and taxes to be sent to and they scan each item of mail that comes in and emails us to decide whether to open and scan it, shred it and/or hold it for forwarding when we can provide an address anywhere in the world to forward to.

      For banking, I currently have frustrations with Citibank and Bank of America requiring a “verifiable” cell phone number to approve security on all transactions. This doesn’t work when our phone numbers change often.

      I have a Chase Bank account that allows me to approve transactions by email, which is better and they’ve been much more flexible and helpful.

      Ryan has an HSBC account which supposedly should offer him international flexibility, but they insist on not allowing any online activity without a physical security calculator that they mail out at whim and which Ryan never has access to.

      Chase has been the bank that’s offered me the most hassle-free international banking experience.

      As for medical stuff, we do routine doctor’s visits and picking up prescriptions whenever I go back to the U.S. to see my mom, but for emergencies I just go to clinics wherever I am and it’s cheaper to pay out of pocket abroad than it is to do anything medical even with insurance in the States. So I mostly just hope when I get sick, it’s anywhere but in the U.S.

      We also gave up our U.S. Medical insurance and as an accident-prone regular visitor to hospitals worldwide, I can say I am always better off getting care abroad for cash-out-of-pocket.

      • Deb May 23, 2016, 9:00 am

        Hey, Tasha–

        You might want to check out Charles Schwab high-yield checking (https://www.schwab.com/public/file/P-6425867/SLS77378-01.pdf). They’re well set up for travelers–no ATM fees world-wide, no foreign transaction fees on your debit card, mobile banking apps, free online transfers between banks, etc, etc. We’re heading out as a family on our Beneteau in three weeks (yikes!), and we expect to do the majority of our banking with Schwab. So far, their customer service has been amazing, too. We have accounts with Citibank and Bank of America, as well, and have found them to be, ahem, less than understanding of our needs.

        Thanks for all of your great writing–you are an inspiration to us!

        • Tasha May 23, 2016, 1:38 pm

          That is so funny! I LITERALLY had a conversation with Kristi yesterday about her Charles Schwab account and my mind was blown. I was just complaining that Citibank has limited me to debiting $200 a day, and the ATMs here charge me $5 a transaction from this end. PLUS I looked at my statement yesterday and found that Citibank also charges me $15 per ATM debit on their end! That’s a 10% fee I pay on every ATM debit! How crazy is that?! I wonder if I can set up a Charles Schwab account online…I may look into that now that you’ve recommended them, too. So thank you for that info!

          • Deb May 23, 2016, 3:18 pm

            I think you can probably do everything online. The one thing we’re being cautious about with that account is that it is a debit card/checking account, so we don’t keep all our cash there; we transfer in a limited amount as needed, just to limit our liability. Never know who’s looking over your shoulder at the ATM. You also have to set up a brokerage account to qualify, but it can just be $10 sitting there pretending to be an investment. Their website has live chat support, so you should be good!
            Deb recently posted…One more week frittered away…My Profile

        • Lainey July 18, 2016, 3:30 am

          Cool! That’s a clever way of loiokng at it!

      • Al May 29, 2016, 9:50 am

        Hi Tasha – you have hit the nail on the head with this comment –

        “it’s cheaper to pay out of pocket abroad than it is to do anything medical even with insurance in the States. So I mostly just hope when I get sick, it’s anywhere but in the U.S.”

        We are ex-pat South Africans living in the US and we are astounded by how a first-world country can have healthcare only affordable by rich people. The system is just designed for providers, pharmaceutical- and Ins companies to make money.

        Anyway, love the blogs and your Youtube channel. Your writing is very inspiring!

        • Tasha June 5, 2016, 2:07 pm

          Hi Al,
          Thanks so much for reading and commenting — what a nightmare the U.S. Healthcare system is, isn’t it? I find it astounding how many Americans say to me, “But the U.S. has the best healthcare in the world.” It’s a myth that Americans love to believe. I absolutely adore Cape Town and would love to live there one day — what an incredible city!

          Tasha

  • Anthony May 21, 2016, 5:34 pm

    Hi Tasha,

    Sure you hear this a lot, but I think you and your husband are an inspiration to those of us stuck in our day jobs.

    I follow your blog and a number of others, and one thing I noticed is that everyone in the sailing world pretty much seems to be white. Why do you think it isn’t more diverse? Is the culture in your mind pretty open to others?

    Also, do you think you could do a post on your sample run rate expenses (maintenance, food, port fees, etc.)?

    Thanks!
    Anthony

  • Heather May 26, 2016, 12:14 pm

    Mine is more of a comment than a question – I was really surprised you allow smoking on the boat. None of the sailors/boat owners I know allow smoking due to a fear of damage from an errant hot ash or fire.

  • Steph May 28, 2016, 8:31 pm

    Hi there!
    You are well on your way to the Galapagos! Hoping you are having (or had) a nice downwind sail. Regarding Turf to Surf vs Chase the Story, are you trying to build two separate brands? Just curious, as I follow both! Happy sailing!! Enjoy the jump across the pond!
    Steph
    s/v Endless Pleasure

  • Ben June 23, 2016, 1:51 pm

    How do you stay fit on the boat? Do you find certain muscle groups weaker when you are back on land after a couple of weeks out at sea? Do you find it harder to recover from a sprint (if you are doing 400s with a minute rest), or do you have some difficulty on a long run?

    Thanks. And hope your autopilot got fixed.

    • Tasha July 13, 2016, 11:32 pm

      Hey Ben,
      These are all good questions. I find it very difficult to maintain my ideal level of fitness on the boat. I enjoy endurance sports, like long-distance running and cycling. But I also really love Crossfit and have found, over the years, that Crossfit has greatly improved my overall strength and my endurance as well. Plus, it’s really easy to do in confined spaces. So I have a 15 kg. kettlebell, a mat, some TRX straps and I do a lot of workouts just using my body weight or using those accessories. You do a lot if you’re dedicated, though sometimes I also find it difficult to stay motivated at sea. After a couple of weeks at sea, usually I can’t run as long or as fast as I could before, but a few weeks doesn’t make a a big difference in strength loss. So I just try to get out there as soon as I can and start sweating hard again and usually my fitness comes back within a few days / weeks. Zero to Cruising are a couple sailing around the world and Rebecca is a fitness guru — she posts a lot of boat workouts that I find very inspirational, though I am not nearly as strong as she is :-).

  • Lawrence Forbach September 20, 2016, 1:09 pm

    I’m a Navy Veteran and I really enjoyed the Islands I’ve been too. I was able to go from San Deigo Ca. USA to Hawaii, Guam, Philippines, China, Korea, Japan, and many of the small islands in the Guam area , also small island in the Philippines. The Scuba diving was great. I know being on a Navy ship is different but I still know what being at Sea is like. I spent 58 days out and a 38 day the rest of the trip was short jumps. I was on board the USS Bristol County LST 1198 The year was 1977 August when we left San Diego, Ca. I have enjoyed watching your videos. If you would like a free jar of my Pain Aid Body Butters. Email me back an address to ship you a package. My website is http://www.forbacharomaticsllc.com I’m Lawrence Forbach

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